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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on April 2, 2024

2024-04-02 21:49

Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting: On April 1, Israeli airstrike destroyed the consular section of Iran’s Embassy in Damascus killing more than seven Iranian people. What’s the comments of the Chinese government in this regard?

Wang Wenbin: China condemns the attack on the Iranian Embassy in Syria. The security of diplomatic institutions should not be violated and Syria’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity must be respected. Amid the ongoing turbulence in the Middle East, we oppose any act that would escalate the tensions.

Shenzhen TV: French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Stéphane Séjourné visited China on April 1 on invitation. Can you brief us on the visit? What important common understandings and results have been achieved during the visit?

Wang Wenbin: Both China and France are major countries marked by a spirit of independence. China-France relations have always exhibited strategic significance beyond the bilateral scope. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries. Since the beginning of this year, our two countries have engaged in a series of high-level exchanges, giving bilateral ties renewed vigor and vitality as we enter the second 60 years of diplomatic relations.

This is Foreign Minister Séjourné’s first visit to China and to Asia since he assumed office, which reflects the great importance France attaches to China-France relations. During his visit, Premier of the State Council Li Qiang and Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met and held talks with him respectively. The two sides had in-depth exchanges on China-France relations, China-EU relations as well as international and regional issues of mutual interest and reached broad common understandings.

The two sides agreed that China-France relations have a precious history and carry the mission of the times, and that it is important to take the opportunity of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties to strengthen communication and coordination and deepen exchanges and cooperation under the leadership of the two presidents, so as to make China-France relations more strategically stable and forward-looking, and play a leading role in the world. The two sides will enhance the synergy of development strategies and industries, deepen cooperation in traditional areas such as aerospace, nuclear energy, agriculture and finance, and actively explore new cooperation areas such as green development and artificial intelligence. The two sides agreed to ensure the success of activities marking the 60th anniversary of bilateral ties and the Chinese-Franco Year of Cultural Tourism, deepen cooperation in science, education, sports and cultural heritage protection, and provide more convenience for people-to-people exchanges between the two countries. The two sides stand for deepening the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership, strengthening open cooperation, opposing decoupling and severing of supply chains, properly handling differences through consultation, jointly maintaining the stability of the global industrial and supply chains, and promoting global economic recovery. The two sides will continue to maintain close communication on major international and regional hotspots, and support each other’s multilateral initiatives. The two sides will work together to address global challenges such as climate change and biodiversity conservation, and inject more stability to the turbulent world. During the visit, the French side reiterated its commitment to the one-China policy, which was appreciated by the Chinese side.

Global Times: According to Financial Times, the US recently announced its continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles from the coast that involves a swath of mineral-rich seabed. Delegations from countries including China and Russia attending an International Seabed Authority meeting pointed out that because Washington has not yet ratified the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, it is unacceptable for the US to unilaterally expand its claims on extended continental shelf. Does the Ministry have any further comment?

Wang Wenbin: The US unilaterally establishing outer limits of continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles from the coast is a typical act of unilateralism and hegemonism. The delimitation rules of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles from the coast were set in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), not customary international law. The US is not a state party to UNCLOS and has no right to claim extended continental shelf based on UNCLOS or review its extended continental shelf outer limits through the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. The US’s unilateral claim is illegal, null and void. It seriously violates international law, encroaches on the international seabed which is the common heritage of mankind, undermines the overall interests of the international community and will not be recognized by the international community. It once again reveals the hegemonism and utilitarianism that define the thinking and behavior of the US and its selective approach to international law.

Anadolu Agency: Israel’s 14-day siege and incursion left Al-Shifa, the largest hospital in Gaza, in ruins and hundreds of civilian deaths behind. Yesterday aid workers from US-based organization World Central Kitchen were targeted and killed by Israel army’s airstrike. Israel, as an occupying force, continues to commit acts that might amount to war crimes in the Gaza Strip, undeterred by demand and warnings from the UNSC and the International Court of Justice. What will be China’s comments about recent developments in Gaza?

Wang Wenbin: China opposes all acts that harm civilians, damage civilian facilities and violate international law. We are appalled by and condemn the attack on international aid workers in Gaza and express deep condolences over the death of the victims. No civilians should become targets of attack, and the safety of international aid workers should not come under threat. We urge relevant parties, especially Israel, to earnestly implement UN Security Council Resolution 2728, fulfill the obligations stipulated in the UN Charter, immediately realize ceasefire, do everything possible to avoid casualties of innocent civilians and protect the safety and security of civilians and civilian facilities, such as hospitals, that are under the special protection of Geneva Convention, and prevent an even worse humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza.

Associated Press of Pakistan: Yesterday Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif visited the Dasu hydropower project and met with the Chinese staff working over there. Talking to them, he assured foolproof security measures for the Chinese nationals and projects across the country and resolved to ensure exemplary punishment for the perpetrators of the March 26 incident. What is China’s comments on that?

Wang Wenbin: China firmly supports Pakistan’s counterterrorism effort and firmly safeguards the safety and security of Chinese nationals, projects and institutions overseas. Since the attack, China has been in close communication with Pakistan. We hope Pakistan will get to the bottom of what happened with utmost resolve and effort, bring the perpetrators and whoever’s behind the attack to justice and do everything possible to protect the safety and security of Chinese personnel, projects and institutions in the country. China will provide necessary assistance to Pakistan in the investigation of the case. The terrorists will pay the price.

CCTV: The latest increase in China’s manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) and non-manufacturing PMI attracted wide attention from international media. They see these figures as evidence that China’s economy has found new drivers for growth. Does the Foreign Ministry have any comments to offer on that?

Wang Wenbin: As you said, China’s manufacturing PMI, non-manufacturing PMI, and composite PMI numbers for March have received wide international attention. The simultaneous rise of the three major indexes and the fact that they are all in the expansion zone are evidence that China’s economy continues to enjoy good momentum, its internal driving force is strengthening, public expectations are improving, and China’s high-quality development is making solid progress. In addition to PMI numbers, China’s imports and exports, power generation, passenger and cargo volume, and consumption during the Spring Festival all showed positive signs of economic rebound, which have heightened the world’s expectation for the Chinese economy in 2024.

The good start of China’s economy this year is a bright spot for the global economy. Over 100 multinational business executives have recently gathered in China. The China Development Forum 2024 and the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2024 both had a full house of guests. Many of the business leaders present expressed full confidence in the resilience and outlook of China’s economy. They believed the Chinese market remains irreplaceable for multinationals and said they will continue to invest in China.

China’s development is open to the world. Various Chinese departments have recently unveiled key steps to expand high-standard opening up, covering cross-border trade in services, cross-border data flows and opening up in the financial sector. From the Canton Fair to the China International Import Expo, China International Fair for Trade in Services, the Global Digital Trade Expo, the China International Consumer Products Expo, and the China International Supply Chain Expo, China is opening wider and wider to the world, and China’s mega-market will bring enormous opportunities to the world. Our message to businesses around the world: invest in China, flourish in China and succeed in China.

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